Van Pelt On Top At Buick
GRAND BLANC, Mich. - GRAND BLANC, Mich. - The PGA Tour's optimistic view of life without Tiger Woods is that it gives unheralded players a chance in the spotlight. Bo Van Pelt is trying to take advantage. Van Pelt shot a 6-under 66 Friday at the Buick Open, making him a career-best 14-under 130 through 36 holes and the second-round leader by two shots. He missed out on his best chance to win for the first time in seven PGA Tour seasons at the Puerto Rico Open, where he led for three-plus rounds before losing by a stroke to first-time winner Greg Kraft of Clearwater."The more I put myself in that position, one of these Sundays is going to be my day," he said. Daniel Chopra (67) and Dudley Hart (68) head into the weekend two shots behind Van Pelt. Tampa native Woody Austin (67) was another stroke back along with Matt Jones (63). While some relative unknowns fill the leaderboard at a tournament expecting to feature Woods before he had season-ending knee surgery, the top players in a lackluster field are failing to dominate. Jim Furyk (No. 12), Justin Leonard (No. 23) and Kenny Perry (No. 27) are the only players among the top 30 in the world at Warwick Hills, where just nine of the top 50 players in the world ranking are competing. Perry (67) fared the best of the trio of standouts, trailing Van Pelt by six shots. Leonard (68) was nine strokes back, and Furyk was another shot behind after following up a solid first round with an even-par 72. Rocco Mediate (69) made the cut at 4 under in his first tournament since pushing Woods for five-plus rounds in the U.S. Open before coming up just short in a dramatic matchup. CHAMPIONS: Loren Roberts made a 45-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap a 6-under 65 that gave him a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Commerce Bank Championship at East Meadow, N.Y. It was the second straight year Roberts, who is fourth on the Champions Tour money list, held the first-round lead of the 54-hole event played on the Red Course at Eisenhower Park. Gene Jones and Greg Hickman had 66s to share second place.